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Aug 20, 2010

Neymar signs five-year contract with Santos

Brazil striker Neymar has broken the mould by rejecting the chance to join a big European club, instead opting to sign a five-year contract extension with Brazilian club Santos.

• Hutchinson forced to retire

The 18-year-old mega-talent was subject to strong interest from a number of leading European clubs, Premier League champions Chelsea chief among them, but he has followed the advice of Pele and new national team coach Mano Menezes to stay in Brazil, at least for now.

Neymar, who scored on debut for Brazil against United States last month, said: "The final decision always rests with the player. My father always will want what is best for me. I talked to him and decided to stay. Money alone does not bring happiness. I'm happy here and I want to continue being so. It was a complicated decision, very difficult. But God gave us the wisdom and power to make the best decision. Now it's time to only think about Santos and winning more titles.''

Santos' president Luis Alvaro lauded Neymar for his "courageous decision'' to stay in Brazil and said he hoped the move would spark an end to the relentless talent drain to Europe.

"We've built a different possibility,'' Alvaro said. "We no longer accept the idea that we're an underdeveloped nation always at the mercy of the powerful European clubs.''

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said: "I knew this. He was a Santos player, he is a Santos player. He is a young player and everyone looks at him but this doesn't mean he will be a Chelsea player."

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